Released: 2007, Megaforce Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Stormtroopers of Death (AKA S.O.D.), the legendary crossover band featuring members of Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and M.O.D. and a true bastion of political incorrectness, returns with RISE OF THE INFIDELS, an hour-long E.P. featuring four previously-released but hard-to-find songs and a live set from Seattle, Washington in late 1999. Of the four studio tracks, two are originals and two are covers of hardcore songs while the live show is an uncut soundboard recording featuring almost the entire SPEAK ENGLISH OR DIE album as well as a few of the band’s tasteless odes to dead musicians. RISE OF THE INFIDELS is a release aimed solely at major fans of S.O.D. and for that, it succeeds but there is little of interest here for those outside the band’s rabid cult followers.
Charlie Benante’s speedy drum intro on “Stand Up and Fight” hearkens back to the glory days of crossover circa 1985 and Billy Milano’s tough-guy hardcore vocals remain among the best of the genre. “Java Amigo,” an amusing tirade against fancy coffee and Starbucks, briefly cruises along with a Suicidal Tendencies-like groove before launching into hyperspeed mode. Agnostic Front’s “United and Strong” and Negative Approach’s “Ready To Fight” seem solid but without being familiar with the original versions, not much can be said.
The “Live at The Fenix” portion of RISE OF THE INFIDELS will be the real draw here for most. Given the fact S.O.D. rarely played live shows and only had two official studio releases—1985’s SPEAK ENGLISH OR DIE and 1999’s BIGGER THAN THE DEVIL—it had to be real treat to be part of what is clearly an energetic atmosphere at the venue. The show is complete with all the pauses and audio fadeouts left intact that provides a real feeling like you’re there and part of the crowd. Milano’s stage banter is a hoot and hearing the band rip through classics like “Kill Yourself,” “Milano Mosh,” “Speak English Or Die” and “Fist Banging Mania” will get anyone moshing around their living room.
S.O.D. is one of the first bands that brought hardcore and thrash metal together and their influence is undeniable, so it’s a shame that RISE OF THE INFIDELS is being marketed as their final release but with only a pair of albums in over twenty years and relations allegedly not the best between Milano and Scott Ian, the end seemed inevitable. While the studio tracks aren’t worth getting too excited about, at the very least, S.O.D. fans can revel in securing another live show from crossovers greatest band on RISE OF THE INFIDELS.